2017 年 2017 巻 68 号 p. 231-245
Among contemporary epistemologists of testimony, David Hume is typically taken to be a reductionist, that is, one who asserts that the justification of one’s testimonial beliefs must depend on non-testimonial evidence. In his first Enquiry (“Of Miracles”), according to the standard interpretation of Hume on testimony, he expresses the view that testimony, unlike perception or memory, is not a fundamental source of epistemic justification. Recently, however, this interpretation has been challenged by many scholars who argue that Hume, as a reductionist, would not even attempt to justify testimonial beliefs by appealing to the evidence of ordinary empirical beliefs. But, in his Treatise and first Enquiry, Hume suggests that, in spite of the reductionism, we can still use our evidence of human nature to justify our testimonial beliefs. This leads us to another interpretation of Hume’s reductionism on testimony.
The purpose of this paper is to show that, we can construe Hume, consistently with reductionism, as a sort of virtue epistemologist, and that the standard interpretation of Hume on testimony is inaccurate. To begin with, I examine C. A. J. Coady’s interpretation which formulates Hume’s reductionist thesis and provides some objections to Hume. Then, I discuss the virtue-epistemological interpretation, by S. Wright, of Hume on testimony. In responding to Coady’s objections, she attempts to show that Hume scholars can learn much from the insights of virtue epistemology. According to her, our interactions with others, combined with the evidence of human nature, give us an insight into the testifier’s virtues. Although her interpretation seems to be attractive, there is still a problem of the hearer which needs to be solved. Finally, I conclude that, taking into account both the testifier’s and the hearer’s virtues, we can adequately defend the virtue-epistemological interpretation of Hume on testimony.